Star Wars has been getting quite the Disney makeover recently, of course with the new trilogy, and the anthology film Rogue One, which is supposed to be about the plot to steal the Death Star plans. Then there have been the two or three "origins" films that up until now have been complete rumors. But, yesterday, Disney hired directors and writers to work on a Han Solo Movie revolving around his time before A New Hope.
Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, known for 21 Jump Street, the Lego Movie, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs will direct, and father/son team Lawrence and Jon Kasden (Lawrence wrote the screenplays for the Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158), and his son for The First Time.) are going to be working on the script. Here's what the two directors had to say about working on the film:
This is the first film we’ve worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with. We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us. This is a dream come true for us. And not the kind of dream where you’re late for work and all your clothes are made of pudding, but the kind of dream where you get to make a film with some of the greatest characters ever, in a film franchise you’ve loved since before you can remember having dreams at all. -starwars.com
Kathleen Kennedy, the producer of the revived franchise, had this to say about the writing and directing duos:
It’s not just any filmmaker who can tell the story of such a beloved icon like Han Solo, and I’m excited to say we’ve found the perfect team to handle the task. Larry and Jon know all there is to know about the character, and Chris and Phil will bring their wit, style, energy and heart to tell Han’s story.
Sounds amazing, right? Looks like everything is going to fall into place, and Disney will make billions on ticket sales and trillions on toys and merchandise. We'll also get a Solo that doesn't need a walker to get around. So, it's time to celebrate!
No, it's actually not. That was sarcasm. This is not a good idea. Like most, if not all reboots, comicbook films aside, there are multiple issues with story consistency, character portrayal, and keeping the tone and feel of the original. While Han Solo Begins isn't a reboot of Star Wars, it will be a reboot of one of the most beloved characters from the franchise. Let's start with why replacing Harrison Ford is a really bad idea.
Harrison Ford is one of the most prolific actors known today. He's headed up the Indiana Jones, Blade Runner, Star Wars, and Jack Ryan franchises. Films like Sabrina, Air Force One, and Ender's Game grace his filmography. But, his performance in Star Wars is what I'd like to take a look at.
Han Solo is snarky, rougish, even scruffy, and Harrison Ford played the character to perfection. Even though the story revolved around Luke Skywalker, Han was the Loki of Star Wars, stealing the show every scene he was in, simply because of his persona on-screen. Just as his character liked to garner attention, Ford's performance deserved all the attention it got.
Here's the problem: I'm not convinced that anyone out there today can pull of the charisma and charm that Ford so beautifully exuded. A lot of people are talking about Chris Pratt taking over the role, or possibly Ford's other well-known title Indiana Jones, but I don't think that Pratt, as good as he is, is on a level with Ford. To use a cliche, "they just don't make 'em like they used to". I'm just not sure that there is anyone that can do Ford's performance justice, while not coming across as a copy.
Then comes the problem of staying true to character, but not copying the original actor. And this idea leads into the writing, and characterization. We saw with The Phantom Menace, The Attack of the Clones, and The Revenge of the Sith that going back and telling the backstory doesn't work. So much had been changed from what was alluded to in the original trilogy, and with the exception of Obi-wan Kenobi, the characters seemed completely different from the originals. Now, I'm not doubting the skill of the writers, but I am afraid that things will be adjusted, or changed.
So, to recap: Harrison Ford is nigh untouchable as an actor, especially as Han Solo. And, the probability that the character will be altered is pretty high. We saw this in the franchise series. I know that those in charge of Star Wars are Star Wars fans, and will do their best to pay due homage to the character, but, some things ought not be changed. Just because we can make a Han Solo film with a younger Han doesn't mean we should. Could you imagine, or would you want someone else replacing Benedict Cumberpatch as Sherlock Holmes? Or Hugh Jackman being replaced as Wolverine?
Now, before I go, I know that some of you will say, "Well, what about the Star Trek franchise?" While Star Trek rebooted characters, they also rebooted the universe, creating a similar, but not identical universe from The Original Series. The characters in the new films are not meant to be the originals, but an alternate "twin" to those characters.
I recently saw a "leaked" image from SDCC, which might shed some light on the subject, and give us an interesting spin on the conversation:
Now, we know that Ewan McGregor has wanted to come back to the franchise, and since he's already canon as a young Obi, it would make sense that he would have a film. I'm not crazy about it, but, what can you do? But, look at the Fett/Solo film. This would really be very interesting to watch, and personally, I'd rather see a Fett film than Solo. We'll see over the weekend whether or not this was real, but, it makes one curious about the future of Star Wars.
Okay, okay, I promise I'm almost done. I know that I just argued against a Han Solo origin film, but, when it comes out in 2018, assuming I'm not completely broke from all the MCU films, I'm gonna go see it. And it'll probably be awesome, with lots of laser blasts and Wookie insults. But, I still believe that some things should be left alone, and Han is one of those things.